Should he get a second term, President Barack Obama is planning to renew a push to reach a “grand bargain” with the GOP to solve the nation’s debt and budget problems. Also high on the agenda is an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, The Washington Post
With just two weeks to go in the election, the president is highlighting two issues that not only eluded him during his first four years in office but also appeal to specific groups of voters. The deficit resonates with independents and immigration with the rising Hispanic population particularly in swing states in the West.
Obama’s plans came to light in an initially off-the-record interview with an executive at the Des Moines Register
. After complaints from the newspaper, the Obama campaign released a transcript.
On the budget deal, Obama said, “So when you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester in place, the commitment of both myself and my opponent — at least Governor Romney claims that he wants to reduce the deficit — but we’re going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business.
"It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.”
On immigration, Obama said, “The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.”
It is unclear how either of these issues will play out with the GOP in Congress or among the president’s own constituents.
Organized labor is no fan of the grand bargain fearing it might involve cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The Post reported the AFL-CIO has plans to keep its organizers active after the election to pressure Democrats and Republicans on the two issues.
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